Top 20 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods In NYC (with Statistics)

Heather Robbins
by Heather Robbins
Want to live in the city but not sure which NYC neighborhood you should avoid? We’ve compiled a list of the 20 most dangerous ones. Want a sneak peek? Brownsville and East Harlem are up there!

Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and Broadway are just some of the well-known and iconic symbols of New York City. You can also find the world’s largest harbor, which has been the shore of legal immigration for years. It is considered to have the largest population of foreign-born citizens.

This city is the most populated in the United States, with over eight million residents. In addition to these residents, almost 63 million tourists visit New York City in a year. The city can be a fascinating place to visit or even live, but there can be some scary and dark areas through all of these unique landmarks and features. Before you sign a lease, you need to know all you can about the neighborhood.

Based on statistics from the FBI, Mott Haven, Hunts Point, Chinatown, Brownsville, and East Harlem are the most dangerous neighborhoods in NYC. These areas consistently rank the highest per capita in reported violent crimes and theft and at least 10-146% higher crime rate than the New York average. Other areas to avoid include Bedford-Stuyvesant, Fordham, and Tremont.

Over the years, the overall crime rates of the city as a whole have decreased. Some say this is due to the tactics put forth by the NYPD, and they have even seen a decrease in organized crime as gangs and mafias leave the city. Regardless of this decrease in the city’s crime rates, many neighborhoods still have crime rates that are four to five times the national average.

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Video: Dangerous Areas in NYC

20 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods In New York City

Below are some neighborhoods you should be wary of if you’re planning a move to NYC or looking to visit.

1. Mott Haven

  • Population: 70,301
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 2,039
  • Total Reported Crime (Per 100k): 5,181
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 32

There are a lot of areas, like St. Mary’s Park, where one should not venture alone at night. Mott Haven has a crime rate of 360% above the national average, which has deemed this a dangerous neighborhood in New York City.

According to FBI statistics, in the Mott Haven neighborhood, there have been 5,181 reported total crimes per capita in 2020. This includes violent crimes such as robbery, rape, murder, and assault, as well as property crimes and vehicle theft.

Property crime was higher in 2020 than violent crimes, with 3,142 property crimes making up over half of the total count, followed by 2,039 violent crimes.

To minimize crime, police officers and rehab centers are found more frequently. Unfortunately, this has not made much of a difference.

2. Hunts Point

  • Population: 22,864
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 1,944
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 4,557
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 22

This neighborhood is a hazardous part of town, with rape cases increasing more than five times. It is in the Bronx section and has a reputation for prostitution and drug activity.

In 2020 there were 4,557 reported crime cases per capita in Hunts Point alone, including both violent and property crimes. This includes all types of crimes, from murder to property damage.

Property crimes made up 2,613, while the violent crimes reported totaled 1,944 in 2020. While property crimes are high, the chance of becoming a victim is 1 in 23.

Small efforts have been made to improve the neighborhood but without avail. It still has a crime rate that is 55% above the national average.

3. Chinatown

  • Population: 10,742
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 1,563
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 4,765
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 21

In the ’80s, Vietnamese youngsters began a violent crime spree in Chinatown, mugging, embezzling, and racketeering under the leadership of a wealthy Vietnamese immigrant. He united numerous independent gangs, causing widespread hatred among the Chinese population.

While you would most likely be fine visiting Chinatown, there’s still a relatively high amount of crime as FBI statistics state there were 4,765 total crimes per capita in 2020. These crimes ranged from murders and rapes to property theft and damage.

However, in 2020 the number of property crimes was double the number of violent crimes. Property crime had a whopping 3,202 incidents, while violent crime had 1,563 incidents.

4. Brownsville

  • Population: 114,519
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 1,264
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 2,810
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 36

Found on the east side of Brooklyn, this neighborhood has been listed as the most dangerous in the city for a while. The Brownsville neighborhood is not considered hazardous; it is deadly. What was once considered the murder capital of New York, the statistics of Brownsville’s crime have improved, but not by much.

According to FBI statistics, there were 2,810 total crimes reported in Brownsville per capita in 2020. That includes murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, vehicle theft, and other theft.

In 2020, property crime was higher than violent crimes. Property crime had 1,546 cases reported by capita, while violent crimes were at 1,264.

Due to all the violent crimes in the neighborhood, Brownsville holds the record of the lowest life expectancy. Their mortality rate is four times that of New York’s average. They also have a high infant mortality rate.

5. East Harlem

  • Population: 51,347
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 1,616
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 4,554
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 22

Found on the upper part of Manhattan, East Harlem is the heart of immigration, making it an eclectic and diverse neighborhood. This neighborhood sees crimes ranging from drug deals and rape to shootings and burglaries.

East Harlem had a reported total crime of 4,554 per capita, including violent and property crimes alike. Violent crimes comprised 1,616 of the reported incidents, with property crimes making up more than half the total as 2,938 incidents were reported in 2020.

Harlem has increased the number of police officers, which has seen a response of declining crimes. However, violent crimes are still 264% more than the national average.

6. Bedford-Stuyvesant

  • Population: 234,457
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 1,065
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 2,902
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 35

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, this neighborhood was known as one of the largest ghettos in America. It is still a high crime area, and its crime rate keeps increasing.

The number of robberies and violent encounters and the fact that they are happening more often is very troublesome to residents in the neighborhood.

In 2020, there was 2,902 reported crimes total per capita, which included events such as murder, rape, burglary, assault, and vehicle theft. Reported property crimes were slightly higher at 1,837, with the reported violent crimes tailing along at 1,065 for 2020.

7. Fordham

  • Population: 64,594
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 1,238
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 3,569
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 29

Fordham is found in the western part of the Bronx and is home to the Rose Hill campus of Fordham University. The neighborhood is sectioned by north and south; each area has its precincts of the NYPD.

Overall, the population in Fordham is one of the smallest, but they do have a higher crime rate than most. The risk of assault in this neighborhood is five times the national average.

For 2020 there were a total of 3,569 reported incidents per capita, including everything from rape and murder, vehicle theft, and other various property crimes, according to FBI statistics.

Property crime was double the amount of violent crimes, coming in at 2,331 reported incidents in 2020 with 1,238 reported violent crimes.

8. Tremont

  • Population: 106,094
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 1,223
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 2,898
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 35

Located in West Bronx, Tremont is a residential neighborhood with two separate NYPD precincts. It is a low-income area, and for years the neighborhood has been considered one of the poorest in America.

There have been 2,898 reported crime incidents for Tremont in 2020. This includes property and violent crimes, including but not limited to murder, rape, assault, vehicle theft, and more.

However, property crime slightly outweighed violent crimes. The reported amount of property crimes totaled 1,665, while there were 1,223 violent crimes per capita.

Since almost half the residents are below the poverty line, the majority of them rent their homes rather than own them. Many buildings were left abandoned as a result of arson in the 1970s. Crime in the area has always been prevalent, and violent crimes are 178% more than the national average.

8. High Bridge

  • Population: 77,016
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 1,149
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 3,564
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 29

The High Bridge neighborhood has a lot to offer, everything from bars and coffee houses to the unique staircases that adds to the charm of the district. However, there’s a lot of different crimes in the area, with street crime and drug crimes being the center of many issues.

According to FBI stats, there was a report of 3,564 total crimes per capita. These included crimes ranging from the worst being murder and rape to minor property crimes.

The total amount of reported property crimes was 2,415, which was double the number of violent crimes, 1,149 for the year 2020.

9. East New York, Brooklyn

  • Population: 147,562
  • Violent Crime (per 100k): 1,095
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 3,271
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 31

While East New York maintains a high prevalence of violent crime, it’s slightly worse in regard to property crimes. Although, there has been a steady decline in car thefts altogether.

In 2020, the total reported crime for East New York, Brooklyn, was 3,271 per capita. These crimes included some violent crimes such as murder, rape, and assault, as well as property-related crimes.

The number of property crimes for 2020 was reported as 2,176, which is significantly higher than the 1,095 violent crimes per capita.

While it’s not great, it’s still a long way from the gang-infested late 1980s and early 1990s when East New York gained notoriety for death and violence throughout the region. Things have changed tremendously for the better here and in other hard-hit city districts.

10. Bushwick

  • Population: 125,346
  • Violent crime (per 100k): 727
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 2,511
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 40

Bushwick is a working-class neighborhood in Brooklyn’s northern reaches. The district, which was established by European immigrants in the 1800s, was an industrial region with multiple distilleries.

There were riots and looting in the area at the time. Although the city has taken its time to rebuild, young professionals are beginning to flock to the area because of the reduced rent. The crime rate in this neighborhood is still higher than in other regions of Brooklyn.

Compared to other neighborhoods in New York City, Bushwick isn’t as bad by way of violent crimes but still has a total reported crime of 2,511 per capita. This includes violent crimes and property crimes alike.

Violent crimes are 727 per 100k people, while property crime is significantly higher at 1,784 for the year 202o. However, it’s expected to continue to decline over the next five years.

11. Financial District

  • Population: 31,087
  • Violent crime (per 100k): 706
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 4,944
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 21

There has been a decline in total crimes in the Financial district due to the increased number of police patrol in the area. However, the area still has 131% greater crimes than the national average. Over time, this is expected to continue to decline.

Regardless, the Financial District is still safer than 35% of nearby neighborhoods. FBI statistics report 4,944 total crimes per capita, including everything from murder to grand larceny.

In 2020, property crimes far outweighed violent crimes. The reported amount of violent crimes per capita was 706, while property crimes were reported at 4,238 per 100k people.

12. Gramercy Park

  • Population: 87,783
  • Violent crime (per 100k): 611
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 3,742
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 27

Despite the great demand for commercial and residential real estate in the region, it is located inside the 13th Precinct, notorious for crime. However, there isn’t as much violent crime as there is property crime, which makes this a somewhat safe place to live or visit.

For 2020, there were a reported 3,131 total crimes which included everything from violent crimes to property-based crimes. The violent crimes made up 611 of this total, while property crimes contributed to 3,131.

13. Fort Greene

  • Population: 120,941
  • Violent crime (per 100k): 717
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 2,771
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 37

Brooklyn’s historic quarter is known as Fort Greene. Italianate and East Lake row houses make up most of the neighborhood’s residents. Many homes were foreclosed as a result of the home renovation loan scandals in the 1990s.

There is a socioeconomic divide among the inhabitants, and there is a significant upper middle class and a significantly lower economic class in the city. According to FBI statistics, due to the divide, there is a reported total crime of 2,771. This number includes both property and violent crimes.

In 2020, the reported number of property crimes was 2,054, and the reported violent crimes were 717. While the crime rate is high, the area is relatively safe to visit and live in as long as you’re mindful of your surroundings.

14. Jamaica

  • Population: 147,527
  • Violent crime (per 100k): 874
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 2,393
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 42

The rate of crime for Jamaica is slightly lower than the average US city. Jamaica is in the 61st percentile for safety, meaning 39% of cities are safer and 61% of cities are more dangerous. However, the southeast part of the neighborhood is far worse than the north side.

In 2020, FBI statistics reported 2,393 crimes total per capita. These crimes ranged from murder to grand theft auto or other crimes against properties.

The violent crime for Jamaica in 2020 was reported as 874, while property crime was significantly higher at 1,519 property crimes per capita.

15. Jackson Heights

  • Population: 130,565
  • Violent crime (per 100k): 750
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 2,393
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 43

Jackson Heights is in the 30th percentile for safety, meaning 70% of cities are safer and 30% of cities are more dangerous. However, your chance of becoming a victim here is only 1 in 43. And that’s for any crime, not just violent crimes.

There was a reported total crime of 2,393 in 2020 per 100,000 people. These crimes range from serious violent crimes such as rape and murder to property crimes.

In 2020, property crimes were more than violent-based crimes. Property crimes were reported as 1,608 per capita, while violent crimes were reported at 750.

16. University Heights

  • Population: 51,091
  • Violent crime (per 100k): 982
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 2,434
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 42

The NYPD’s 46th Precinct is in charge of University Heights. The 46th Precinct has a lower crime rate than in the 1990s, with all types of crimes falling by 76.3 percent from 1990 to 2020.

As a result, university heights aren’t as dreadful as they used to be. Many individuals relocate there to take advantage of the lower living costs and the lack of crime. In University Heights, your chances of becoming a victim are 1 in 42.

In 2020, the total reported crime per 100,000 people was 2,434. This included all types of crimes, from violence to property. Violent crime had 982 reported cases, while property crime had 1,452 reported cases.

17. Castle Hill

  • Population: 39,740
  • Violent crime (per 100k): 729
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 2,457
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 41

Crime had significantly decreased in Castle Hill since the 1990s when the area was stomping grounds for major drug runners and high activity gangs. While the area still has a relatively high crime rate, violent crime isn’t nearly as bad.

According to FBI stats, there have been a total of 2,457 reported crimes in 2020. These crimes include ones such as murder, rape, assault, grand larceny, auto theft, and other misdemeanor property crimes.

There were more property crimes reported than violent crimes for 2020. The amount of reported violent crimes was 729 and reported property crimes were 1,728 per capita.

18. Longwood

  • Population: 17,271
  • Violent crime (per 100k): 709
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 2,421
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 33

Longwood is another area that has been cleaned up quite a bit since the ’90s as the crime had decreased by 73% from 1990 to 2020. However, the level of crime even in 1990 didn’t compare to the activities that took place in the 1960s.

During the 1960s, criminality was at such a high level that the Simpson Street building became dubbed “Fort Apache” by the cops and was later memorialized in a 1981 film of the same name. The Bronx Detectives Bureau is currently housed in the Simpson Street building.

FBI stats state that there was a total of 2,421 reported crimes in 2020, including murder, rape, and assault, a well as property-based crimes. Violent crimes have 709 reported cases, while property crimes were 1,712 per capita.

19. Washington Heights

  • Population: 174,779
  • Violent crime (per 100k): 559
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 1,953
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 52

Washington Heights was historically renowned as the murder hub of the city, dominated by drug cartels and damaged by police misconduct. The police force split the patrolling zone in two in 1994, with the 33rd Precinct south of 179th Street and the 34th Precinct north of 179th Street, which also encompasses Inwood.

After this split, violent crime has significantly decreased, and so has property crime. But, they’re both still worrisome to residents of Washington Heights.

In 2020 there were a reported total of 1,953 crimes per 100,000 people. These crimes included both violent and property crimes. Violent crimes made up 559 of the total, while the other 1,394 were property-based crimes.

20. Mount Eden

  • Population: 26,900
  • Violent crime (per 100k): 537
  • Total Reported Crime (per 100k): 1,912
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 43

Mount Eden is in the 29th percentile for safety, which means 71% of cities are safer while 29% are more hazardous. Mount Eden residents often believe the city’s northeast section to be the safest. Most residents feel safe but warn about the southeast area as it’s the worst for crime.

In Mount Eden, your chances of becoming a victim of crime are as high as 1 in 23 in the southeast areas and as low as 1 in 53 in the northeast, making the chance overall 1 in 43.

There were a reported 1,912 total crimes per 100k in 2020. These crimes included everything from murder to auto theft. Of the total, 537 violent crimes were reported, while 1,375 were property crimes.

How To Stay Safe In New York City

New York City isn’t like every other city as it’s completely crowded, and it’s enormous. Many tourists come in and out; therefore, you never know who you’re going to cross paths with. Here are just a few pointers to stay safe in NYC, especially if you’re going to one of the worst neighborhoods.

Review Your Accommodations

New York City is a high-traffic tourist destination, and there are thousands of hotels available. Before making your reservation, research and review the hotels and the neighborhoods they are located in.

It is best to get to your hotel to unpack and place any valuables in the safe when you leave the airport. You must never open your door without verifying your visitor, especially if it is housekeeping that you did not request.

Check Your Taxi

An iconic symbol of New York City is the yellow cabs with the light on the roof. All taxis in New York City are identified, so never get into an unmarked vehicle. There are a few distinct features to remember: the light on the top displaying the cab driver’s medallion number and the ID number on the vehicle’s hood. Use caution when using any other form of transportation like Lyft or Uber.

Map Your Route

The best way to see the city, of course, is to walk. The city is an excellent platform for tourists to walk to get to their location since they will see more along the way. Before heading out, plan your walking trip and maintain it. Pay close attention to landmarks and street signs.

Always be hypervigilant, especially at night and with traffic and cyclists on the road. If you ever get lost, find a store to go into for help or find a police officer for directions.

Riding The Subway

New York City subway can be affordable means of transportation and a great experience of the city. You will need to buy a Metrocard and make sure you get it from an approved vendor. While waiting for the subway, ensure you are behind the yellow line and “mind the gap.” When riding the subway at night, try to ride in the conductor’s car.

Stick To Well-Known Areas

There are a lot of areas that are great for tourists to explore, and if you stick to them, you will find no trouble. Most of the city can be explored easily. Times Square and the financial district will have a lot of traffic but ensure a sense of security.

Chelsea is an excellent area to see New York City’s art and some nightlife. The best part is they are well populated and well-patrolled for your safety.

Wrapping It Up

If you’re ever planning to visit the Big Apple, make sure you research the areas you want to visit. Always use common sense, such as not getting into a stranger’s car and never walking after dark alone. Just because a neighborhood is dangerous doesn’t mean you need to avoid it; however, you need to be extra cautious.

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Heather Robbins
Heather Robbins

Heather is a passionate writer who loves anything DIY. Growing up, she learned everything from home repairs to design, and wants to share her tips with you. When she's not writing, she's usually hiking or searching for her next DIY project.

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